Elderly German Priest Leaves Catholic Church | National Catholic Registry

Participants in the German Synodal Way voted in favor of draft texts calling for blessings for homosexuals and modifications to the Catechism on homosexuality, as well as for women priests.

A high-ranking German priest has announced he is no longer a Catholic, citing his disappointment at the lack of ‘reforms’ in the Church and admitting to breaking his promise of celibacy.

Andreas Sturm, the former vicar general of the Diocese of Speyer in southwestern Germany, made the announcement May 13, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Sturm, who joins Germany old catholic community, said he had “lost hope and confidence over the years that the Roman Catholic Church can truly transform itself.”

“At the same time, I feel how much hope is placed in ongoing processes like the Synodal Way. But I am no longer able to honestly and sincerely proclaim and share that hope, because I just don’t have it anymore.

The former vicar general described the ordination of women to the priesthood, as well as “the abolition of obligatory celibacy, the treatment of homosexual persons, the co-management of the laity, the blessing ceremonies for homosexuals and sexual morality in general in the Church,” as the most important topics that he felt weren’t covered.

Participants in German “Synodal Way” voted in favor of draft texts calling for the blessing of people of the same sex and catechism changes on homosexuality, as well as female priests.

Admitting in an interview to having broken the promise of celibacy, Sturm Told the local newspaper Mannheimer Morgen that he had long doubted that the Catholic Church was “a good fit for me,” even in the seminary and as a pastor.

“But in the vicar general’s office, it was easier for me to reflect on those doubts and to think about resigning,” said Sturm, who led the diocese of Speyer for several months during the prolonged absence of his bishop for health reasons.

In a number of interviews with German newspapers, Sturm said he was launching a book about his experience. The Title of the publication, which is scheduled for release in June, is I have to get out of this church, with the caption “Because I want to remain a human being. A vicar general speaks.

According to a press release from the publisher Shepherd, Sturm said, “For me, there has never been anything but the Roman Catholic Church and my life in it and with it. In the meantime, I’ve wondered for a while if I’m not so co-dependent. Co-dependent on this Church. This image of co-dependency came to mind because people write to me again and again, “Because of you, I am not leaving the Church. But do I want to?

The Old Catholics belong to a movement originating mainly from the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, made up of Catholics who were excommunicated for their refusal to recognize papal authority in dogmatic matters following the First Vatican Council. Old Catholic communities, women can be ordained, remarriage after divorce is possible, and same-sex unions are blessed.

Sturm is not the only prominent German Catholic figure to gravitate towards Old Catholics.

Another notable case is that of Anselm Bilgri, the former prior of the Bavarian Abbey of Andechs. The former Benedictine monk made headlines in Germany on May 17 following claims that Pope Francis had dismissed him from the clerical state for arranging Catholic weddings and baptisms, although he left the Church and joined the Old Catholics in 2020.

Speaking to the German tabloid ImageBilgri accused the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising for “exposing” him and said the pope had “punitively dismissed” him from the clergy for “persisting in the schism of the Church”.

Frank Ewerszumrode, a former Dominican friar, joined the Old Catholics several months ago. He previously taught Catholic theology at various colleges and universities. Like Bilgri, Ewerszumrode is openly gay, CNA Deutsch reported.

Matthias Ring, who is bishop of the Old Catholics in Germany, said in April that there had been a general increase of interest among German Catholics, according to katholisch.dea website funded and managed by the German Bishops’ Conference.

There were around 15,500 Old Catholics in the community’s German diocese alone in 2017.

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